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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.116-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Possibly Unknown


Breastplate, for infantry use. Formed of a medially-ridged main plate and a waist-lame of deep-bellied form. The main plate has concave neck and arm-openings. The neck-opening has a file-roped inward turn bordered by a V-shaped rib enclosed by a pair of incised lines. The arm-openings are each bordered by an incised line and pierced at their upper and lower ends with a rivet-hole for the attachment of a missing gusset. Pierced just below each armpit is a later wiring-hole. Pierced to either side of the neck-opening is a rivet-hole for the attachment of a missing shoulder-strap. Overlapping the lower edge of the main plate, and attached to it at either side by a modern round-headed rivet, is a deep waist-plate which is bordered at its upper edge by a single incised line, and flanged outwards at its lower edge to receive a skirt. The flange is pierced at either side with a rivet-hole for the attachment of a missing skirt. Later wiring-holes are pierced just to the outside of each of these rivet-holes, and to either side of the waist, just above the angle of the flange.


History note: From the armoury of the Earls of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wiltshire, sold by Sotheby's, London, 10 July 1917, 23 June 1921 and 14 June 1923. Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 18.0 cm
Height: 45.3 cm
Weight: 4.19 kg
Width: 36.3 cm

Relative size of this object

36.3 cm45.3 cm18 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


Mid-16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1555


The breastplate is bright with a mottled patination suggesting that its surface originally showed a ' black from the hammer' finish.

Possibly English or Flemish

Components of the work

Decoration Main Plate Parts

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed of a medially-ridged main plate and a waist-lame of deep-bellied form; hammered, shaped, riveted, with file-roped and incised decoration
Patinating Formed

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.116-1933
Primary reference Number: 18594
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 20 April 2012 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Breastplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-08-14 14:44:57

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{{cite web|url= |title=Breastplate (body armour) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-08-14 14:44:57|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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